Nihao from Shanghai, everyone!
It's hard to believe that three weeks ago, just over 24 hours after I had landed in Shanghai, I was having a glass of wine in Xintiandi with a good friend, nervously anticipating the next day's apartment hunting expedition. Tonight, I'm looking out on the vast Shanghai skyline from my 19th floor apartment in the (former) French Concession, having just cooked up a delicious Chinese-style meal in my new, but soon-to-be very well-worn wok. The 21 days in between have already been some of the most exhilarating, frustrating, exhausting, and energizing of my nearly 35 years (My birthday is 16 days away. Celebrating it in China is sure to engender some hilarity! Stay tuned for the birthday blog!). While on paper, three weeks isn't all that long, I feel like I have enough material to write three months of worth of blogs already! The crowded lanes of, er, Ikea (yes, there are several in Shanghai and throughout China); my ill-advised shoulder to shoulder "stroll" through Yuyuan gardens during the Harvest Moon Festival; the shouting match during my lease signing at the rental agency; discovering Chinese online retail - and its quicker than blinking deliveries; the unknown daily "explosions" outside our window later discovered to be fireworks for the National Day holiday; the ridiculously cute tree-lined streets in the French Concession two minutes away from horrendously nightmarish roads no pedestrian should ever be forced to negotiate - the list goes on and on. I cannot wait to delve into topics like these and more in this new blog series on walkability, urbanization, development, and health (and likely some other seemingly tangential topics that I'll find a way to tie in)! I am fully aware of how much of a privilege it is that I am pretty much indeed "walking" hard for my money as part of my Fulbright in Shanghai! As part of my payback for that, I will be stretching those precious government dollars that got me here by "taking" you all on those walks with me through this blog! Please join me on what's sure to be the least mundane journey ever!